My First Semester As A College Athlete

My First Semester As A College Athlete

Nothing worth having comes easy.
263
views

When I signed my contract, I was ecstatic. When I packed up and moved to school, I was nervous and hesitant. When the training got tough and I was exhausted, I was unsure. But now that my first season is over, I could not be more thankful and sure of my choice to attend San Diego State University and compete on the women's rowing team. The story to getting here is long, but I knew it was important that I tell it.

Moving to school is a challenge for anyone, and in different ways. Moving to college was tough for me because on top of the stress of becoming a college student, I was becoming a college athlete. I had spent the summer training on my own, working every day to increase my endurance, fitness and stamina in order to impress my coaches during our preliminary assessments. I was entering an environment where there was a new, greater level of competition than what I was used to, all while doing so without my high school teammates. I had to find some kind of comfort in the new people I was meeting to get through the start of our season and the 6000-meter rowing machine test that would determine how we stood on the team as the season got started. That test was crucial, and it had been the focus of my summer. Training, training, and more training to meet the numbers and try to do better than that. I needed to meet the time standard for this test.

And I didn't. On the day of the test, I came up short. I rowed as hard as I could, and I could tell you all of the reasons I think I didn't make the time standard that day, but if this semester has taught me anything, it's the stop making excuses. I didn't make it, I had failed, and I had to keep working.

After that test day early on in the semester, I had to keep training. While those who met the standard got to row on beautiful Mission Bay, I spent every morning back on the rowing machine. Week after week, I'd attempt the 6000-meter test again. And for an entire month, I was stuck on campus training without water to row on.

During that month I was tested to a greater degree than I expected to be during my first semester. Being off the water made me question my decision to be here, and that is something I don't like to admit, but it's the truth. I wondered about what I was doing, why I couldn't measure up to the time standard. I was tired and during a time where a lot of students were experiencing the tough adjustment of being away from home, I was experiencing that and my fear of failure week after week, when I would retest. That fear shaped me in huge ways.

On the day that I passed the test, I was overcome with emotion. I had spent weeks in fear of failure, but at the same time, I realized I was afraid of my own strength. The challenge of the assessment that I faced during my first semester taught me that fearing the worst isn't going to get you anywhere, and it's better to remember that you're strong, capable, and strength will overcome that fear of defeat. I was finally able to row with my teammates and it was the greatest gift ever to get back on the water.

But that work didn't stop there. The rowing machine was still a subject of worry for me, and when it was incorporated into our weekly training, it caused me plenty of stress. The weeks got longer, as we entered 20-hour training weeks. While balancing sleep, studies, and any bit of a social life, we trained for 20 hours a week. Double-days are normal days for us, as are 5:30 am alarm clocks. The exhaustion we experienced became so great that it didn't really exist anymore- we were all so used to it that it was common place in our lives. The work got harder and the days seemed to get longer. None of what I was experiencing was easy. There were tough workouts, tough talks from my coach, and tough lessons to learn each day.

From September to November we were locked in the grind of train, sleep, eat (study?), repeat. And time flew by. As it did, I began to get into my rhythm and started learning a lot. I also realized I had a lot of people to thank. My trainer from home, Kristin, stuck by me through the toughest realizations, toughest moments, and worst points of the semester. She motivated me, helped me understand my potential, and inspired my goals. My mom was always there to listen and understand, even from far away. She got it, and she let me be frustrated. My family and friends who understood when I was busy or exhausted helped me keep training.

The girls I've met here have impacted me immensely. Older girls who I didn't think knew my name gave me pointers and showed that they cared. Our team captains instilled a work ethic in our team that inspires me personally and expected excellence each day. My primary coach taught me some of the greatest lessons about life from each day of hard work as a rower, and she is someone I look up to daily now.

Being a college athlete is much different than what I anticipated. A lot of the things I've experienced in this first semester are things I predicted. But a lot is different, unexpected, new, and challenging. My life revolves around my sport. My winter break ends early to train, our spring break doesn't exist, and summer is also dedicated to the next season or the next rowing machine test. A lot of people would view the journey of this first season as something awful and unpleasant. But that's where we differ as athletes. Some moments can be painful, many even. Some days can be awful. But when we see our hard work pay off in the rowing machine or the water, see our coach recognize our strides toward improvement, and see our fitness increase as we close off a great semester, we don't see the awful or the unpleasant- we see the journey to excellence. We see the grind and how empowering it is to be an athlete. And we see the journey itself as the reward.

This semester I've learned so much. Failure does not define your character, and should not define your work ethic- it must push you to keep going. Hard work is the greatest virtue of all. And as many athletes say, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Always be the tough one in a sea of people. Never make excuses. And if all else fails, while working to make the people you love proud, make yourself proud too.

I'm thankful for the experience, the people and the team that has welcomed me with open arms. I'm excited to train hard over winter break to come back stronger. I can't wait for the spring season. My first semester as a college rower has been a roller coaster, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Nothing worth having comes easy.

Cover Image Credit: SDSU News Center

Popular Right Now

5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
284651
views

Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

ASU Baseball Is Already Knocking It Out Of The Park

All eyes are on the Sun Devils as they enter the national poll this previous week. The Sun Devils are the last unbeaten team left in the NCAA.

dom8gd
dom8gd
118
views

Starting off the season 18-0? Not bad, considering the Sun Devils' haven't gone undefeated at the start of the NCAA baseball season since 2010 when they went 24-0, but honestly where did this come from? In the 2017-18 season, the Devils finished off with 23-32, sitting towards the bottom of the Pac-12. Now they're the top of the conference, past the usual Pac-12 baseball powerhouse, Oregon State.

On a team with only 27 on the roster, which makes it the smallest team in the Pac-12, you wouldn't really expect such an explosive start to the season. Take a look at the improvements made, though, and you'll see why.

For starters, catcher Sam Ferri is back healthy and ready for this season to start with both pitchers Alec Marsh and RJ Dabovich, who've both thrown some great games, but if we're being honest here, have been a little inconsistent with a few errors, but have been backed up by the offense to get the job done.

On offense, Hunter Bishop and Spencer Torkelson are the ones to watch out for. Torkelson was named Pac-12 freshman of the year last year, after setting the Pac-12 freshman record of home runs. Now he's back with some deadly at-bat presence, as you can always expect a few RBIs from him, and also doing a great job at infield (#TorkBomb). Bishop's following suit, with major at-bats against Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Xavier.

Safe to say being ranked #23 right now is huge for a program that struggled majorly in the past seasons and has had some great players transfer out recently. Despite being faced with huge adversity before the season, this lineup is really producing some good stuff this year, and by being undefeated through the first month of play really exemplified that.

Hats off to Head Coach Tracy Smith for helping these young men after having the program suffer for a while.

dom8gd
dom8gd

Related Content

Facebook Comments